Dayton residents continue to prepare for flooding after scare
February 21, 2017
Residents of east Dayton are guarding their properties for the remainder of the storm after Tuesday's flood scare, as emergency alerts urged the area to evacuate due to retention pond failure.
Erroneous announcements were issued about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday stating a break in the retention basin dam was life-threatening and would overflow 2-4 feet of water, advising residents to leave the area within 30 minutes.
However, Lyon County officials closed Dayton Valley Road to the public except residents, and clarified there were no evacuations in place. "It's not a dam and there is no threat of a break or breach," said Lyon County Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Darragh. "It's simply a retention overflow and we're monitoring. It's a crowd control issue, if anything."
Darragh also said the flooding isn't bad compared to last time and wouldn't reach as far across the road.
The Nevada Highway Patrol assisted Lyon County teams with traffic, and directing incoming and outgoing residents. County Manager Jeff Page confirmed there was never a dam failure with no homes or property damaged.
At about 5 p.m. Tuesday, Lyon County officials advise the immediate threat from the retention basin was over. Water was still flowing in the drainages but no property or structures were threatened. No evacuations were ordered.
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There was substantial concern of a "Dam Failure" but there's no dam in the area. Lyon County requested the National Weather Service to activate the Emergency Alert System to notify residents of the potential of flash flooding due to retention basin over flowing. Unfortunately the only category this event would categorize was as a dam failure. The NWS followed the appropriate protocols and Lyon County officials said they are grateful for NWS' cooperation.
Lyon County recommends the public keep all flood mitigation measures in place for at least a month.
Although evacuation was optional, the alert persuaded residents to leave, based on the damages they experienced from January's flooding.
Ruth Smith and her husband just settled back into their home on Dayton Valley Road three weeks prior after recovering from last month's flood. The couple evacuated for their own safety in the event, even though the city had planned to try to divert the flow.
Before the alert was issued, Smith said a few residents were ordered to evacuate and stood on the side of the road waiting for officials, along with other neighbors.
"The trucks are driving around, coming and going," she said. "There are dead animals drowned in puddles. We're hoping something can be done, and we're willing to help to get this done."
Chris Scott of Dayton Valley Road also experienced damages to his home during January's flood. During the flood surveillance that afternoon, he and a group of friends toured the quiet, open range off of Sydney Lane and Rancho Road to observe the remains of the diversion.
According to Scott, there was hardly any water left to further feed the retention pond.
"It's not bad," he said. "But officials came to us door-to-door telling neighbors to evacuate."
Looking into the distance, thick clouds containing more rain and snow made their way down the hill, toward Scott's neighborhood.
He and his friends said they aren't concerned about this storm's round, as they are prepared, but are hoping to see some enhancements with culverts from the county, in the future.
"We can't sleep at night if it rains," he said. "But at least we're awake this time."
As for other neighbors nearby, environmental safety continues to be a concern. Rick Van Aken owns a house on Rancho Road that was damaged during last month's flood.
He hasn't been to his residence since August and is taking care of his family in Arizona, in the meantime. He doesn't know what to expect when he returns in March or April, although his neighbors do routine checks on the home.
"It was supposed to be my dream home," he said. "But I'd rather be here in Arizona than helpless at the house."
According to the Record-Courier, lower snow levels are keeping the Carson River in its banks, although snow in the mountains can cause potential for future flooding. Rain in the lower elevations caused the East Fork of Carson River to rise to 12.82 feet early Tuesday morning, 3 feet short of its crest on Jan. 8 and 2.5 feet short of the Feb. 10 high water mark.
Lyon County Manager Jeff Page announced to the Board of Commissioners Feb. 16 about his recommendations to reduce the effects of flash and river flooding, and infrastructure. Those ideas included a flood control district, develop an ordinance to address road side drainages and culvert maintenances, require sellers to notify prospective buyers about area flood risks, and review existing land use ordinances to require developers to establish a drainage system.
Although flood warnings have expired for now, volunteers continued to fill up sandbags outside of Lyon County Fire Department Station 39.
"We've done at least 400," said Kannon Valdez. "The false alarm about the pond is frustrating, but it's better to be safe than sorry."